Related Posts: Blacks and the Priesthood; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part I; Race issues in the Book of Mormon: Part II
Summary: On the McLaughlin Group Lawrence O’Donnell ranted against Mormonism. He said the LDS faith is racist and Joseph Smith was a criminal. He also accused the Church of being pro-slavery. His views are extremely biased–that will be obvious to anyone who watches the clip below.
So, was Mormonism ever pro-slavery?
The LDS faith was never pro-slavery. Neither were Joseph Smith and Brigham Young–the only LDS Presidents during the antebellum period. Joseph Smith wanted to free the slaves by purchasing their freedom. Brigham Young said, “I am neither an abolitionist nor a pro-slavery man.” He goes on to say if he had to choose he would be against the pro-slavery side.
Brigham Young wanted Utah to be a free state, but as a territory it permitted slavery. Though there were probably never more than 100 slaves in the entire territory.
Naturally, politics came into play. When the church was in Missouri it was accused of being abolitionist, which is something Joseph Smith had to deal with. Brigham Young was afraid if slavery were abolished polygamy would be next. So they both walked a political tightrope.
Their positions on slavery are not what we would like them to be. But I cannot conclude either of them were pro-slavery. Continue reading
Related Posts: Godhead: God or Gods?; Who is Jesus?—to a Mormon; Whom do we Worship?; The Trinity
Joseph Smith’s first revelatory experience is known among Mormons as the first vision. Joseph’s four known accounts of this experience are from 1842, 1838, 1835, and 1832. These accounts were either written by Joseph himself or were dictated by him to a scribe.
The first vision experience
Between the age of fourteen and fifteen Joseph began to wonder which of all the religious denominations is correct, and was concerned about his own standing before God. One night as he was reading the Bible he came across a passage from the book of James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). Joseph decided to do as James suggested and pray for guidance. He writes, “for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible” (JS-History 1:12). With these questions in mind he retired one morning to a secluded place to pray. As he began to offer his prayer Continue reading
Related Posts: Four Important Early Christian Creeds; Mormonism and Creeds of Christendom; The Trinity; The Nature of Christ; Godhead: God or Gods?
Whether or not one thinks of Mormonism as Christian can depend largely on where one stands in the debate. Mormons would like to be thought of as Christian by others, and I suspect that many non-Mormon Christians do, but many well educated Protestants and Catholics do not. So on what basis is Mormonism Christian or not Christian? In a debate with Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game, Dr. Albert Mohler argues, “Are Mormons ‘Christians’ as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy? The answer to that question is easy and straightforward, and it is ‘no.’” (debate here) But why does he view Mormonism as affirmably non-Christian? He writes,
The orthodox consensus of the Christian church is defined in terms of its historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations. Two great doctrines stand as the central substance of that consensus. Throughout the centuries, the doctrines concerning the Trinity and the nature of Christ have constituted that foundation, and the church has used these definitional doctrines as the standard for identifying true Christianity…Normative Christianity is defined by the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the other formulas of the doctrinal consensus. These doctrines are understood by Christians to be rooted directly within the Bible and rightly affirmed by all true believers in all places and throughout all time…The major divisions within Christian history (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) disagree over important issues of doctrine, but all affirm the early church’s consensus concerning the nature of Christ and the Trinitarian faith. These are precisely what Mormonism rejects. (“Mormonism is Not Christianity“)